Given the rhetoric of conservative activists and Republican officials during the 2008 presidential campaign, it was clear that the opposition to President Barack Obama would be strong. At the time, the rhetoric often spoke of unprecedented socialism and the idea that America would be forever changed. Obama was seen as more than just a liberal or a progressive, he was a devout socialist with numerous ties to dangerous radicals to his opponents.
After Obama took office, a movement of conservatives and libertarians would rise from the ashes of a defeated cause. Despite failing to stop Obama in 2008, these activists and concerned Americans would not give up. The result was a movement of people known as the “Tea Party.” The name is derived from the original Boston Tea Party during the American Revolutionary period, where demonstrators dressed up as Native Americans and dumped tea into Boston Harbor.
The Tea Party stood by basic conservative ideas such as defending gun rights, fiscal responsibility, and limited government constitutionalism. Tax Day rallies were launched by the Tea Party, who would use the day dedicated to collecting to the income tax to demonstrate their patriotic message. Activists would come together at massive gatherings and listen to speakers talk about the need to enact these principles in government.
This movement was also portrayed as radical by the American left. From Democratic politicians to left-leaning talking heads, the implication was that these groups were dangerous anarchists who wanted overthrow democracy because of racial tensions harbored against the first black President. The Tea Party’s support of basic gun rights amounted to an embrace of violence against other human beings and government itself in the eyes of the left. Their support of limited government meant an endorsement of anarchy.
All of this hyperbole has continued to escalate over the years, with the portrayal as dangerous right-wing radicals subverting democracy continuing to remain prevalent.
But is it really the Tea Party Movement that is dangerous?
Whereas the Tea Party held peaceful rallies and elected politicians to numerous levels of office from municipalities all the way up to federal Congress, the new Resistance Movement has officially endorsed obstruction and destruction. In the aftermath of President Donald Trump pulling off a long-shot victory last year, many left-wing activists have adopted an explicitly pro-violence approach to politics that is based on intimidation and fear.
Alt-right youth icon Milo Yiannopoulos and conservative firebrand Ann Coulter have both become targets of mass intimidation movements by leftists acting aggressively in large numbers. Reports of vandalism and assault are on the rise, such as the case in Berkeley when opposing viewpoints were invited to the college to speak.
What is more dangerous and radical: peaceful gatherings or disruptive violence?
This is a source of constant hypocrisy in American politics. When the Bundy ranchers took over a Bureau of Land Management building when it was empty and didn’t fire a shot at any government official, they were portrayed as dangerous domestic terrorists by the left who needed to be taken down through force. After riots broke out across Ferguson that resulted in injuries, violence, and looting, the same leftists celebrated these violent protesters as agents of change.
What is the real danger to social order and stability?
The dangerous hypocrisy of the American left, which emboldens its more radical elements, should not go ignored. Disagreeing with the Tea Party is fine, it is an American right that even members of the Tea Party would defend. However, the left is now guilty of the exact transgressions they once accused the Tea Party of doing back when Obama was in office.